Monday, September 8, 2008

Fox News & Oliver North Involved with U.S. Afghanistan Massacre Cover-up

The UK TimesOnline has posted a video of the aftermath of the killings of dozens of villagers in the Afghan village of Nawabad (called Azizabad in other stories). The U.S. has maintained that seven civilians and three dozen Taliban militants were killed in the combined U.S. Special Forces/Afghan Army/U.S. air operation last August 21. The United Nations and local villagers insist that 92 civilians were killed, over half of them children. According to the article:
In the video scores of bodies are seen laid out in a building that villagers say is used as a mosque; the people were killed apparently during a combined operation by US special forces and Afghan army commandos in western Afghanistan. The film was shot on a mobile phone by an Afghan doctor who arrived the next morning.

Local people say that US forces bombed preparations for a memorial ceremony for a tribal leader. Residential compounds were levelled by US attack helicopters, armed drones and a cannon-armed C130 Spectre gunship.
Besides the UN, the villagers' account is backed up by investigations from an Afghanistan government delegation and what the Times calls Afghanistan's "leading human rights organisation."

Now, NATO command is backing off the official story, noting that there is a "discrepancy" in death toll figures, and expressing the usual "heartfelt sorrow." But , as the Times reports, a new report by Human Rights Watch says that under reporting of civilian deaths in Afghanistan is out of control. (The report criticizes both U.S./NATO and Taliban forces.)
Taking what it says are the most conservative figures available, Human Rights Watch has calculated that civilian deaths as a result of Western airstrikes tripled between 2006 and 2007 to 321. In the first seven months of this year the figure was 119. In the same period, 367 civilian deaths were attributed to Taleban attacks. It accuses US officials of routinely denying reports of civilian deaths.
Perhaps the most amazing political news surrounding the Nawabad massacre is that the Pentagon says it relied for its account, in part, on corroborative evidence by the embedded journalist on the scene: Fox News "reporter" Oliver North! The Times portrays North as coming "to prominence in the 1980s Iran-Contra affair."

Actually, North was convicted for three felonies in regards to his activities during the Iran-Contra scandal. He only escaped a suspended prison sentence and $150,000 in fines because, as his Wikipedia bio describes it, an "appeals court found that witnesses in his trial might have been impermissibly affected by his immunized congressional testimony." North had been deputy director for political-military affairs for the National Security Council under Reagan, until the scandal brought his career to a halt.
North came into the public spotlight due to his participation in the Iran-Contra Affair, in which he was the chief coordinator of the sale of weapons via intermediaries to Iran, with the profits being channeled to the Contras in Nicaragua. He was responsible for the establishment of a covert network used for the purposes of aiding the Contras. U.S. funding of the Contras by appropriated funds spent by intelligence agencies had been prohibited by the Boland Amendment.
North's testimony in front of a congressional committee during the Iran-Contra hearings marked him as an unabashed apologist for covert operations and the projection of American power abroad, irregardless of the will of those in the countries subjected to U.S. intervention. Lying to Congress was justified, in his opinion, because he supported the anti-Sandinista "Contras", whom he labeled "freedom fighters." Since then, and after an unsuccessful foray into politics, he has made his living as a right-wing ideologue, writing books, and establishing himself as a right-wing television commentator.

It looks like North's service to his military masters has never ended. Looking at the video from the Times, which shows rows of dead bodies, including many children, we can only conclude that North has once again lied for the government. It's his specialty, and one shouldn't be surprised. However, North's participation in this U.S. military cover-up vividly calls into question the role of embedded "reporters" among the armed services.

The cover story on Nawabad/Azizabad included U.S. asssurances that the villagers were lying about the casualties. This from Chris Floyd's coverage:
What's more, the Pentagon then claimed that the reports of a wider slaughter were being faked by the villagers, at the behest of the Taliban. The American brass even accused the survivors of the attack of creating fake graves to fool the good-hearted U.S. military inspectors who, it was claimed, quickly visited the scene to ascertain the truth.
But Carlotta Gall is reporting at the New York Times:
Cellphone images seen by this reporter show at least 11 dead children, some apparently with blast and concussion injuries, among some 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque. Ten days after the airstrikes, villagers dug up the last victim from the rubble, a baby just a few months old. Their shock and grief is still palpable....

A visitor to the village and to three graveyards within its limits on Aug. 31 counted 42 freshly dug graves. Thirteen of the graves were so small they could hold only children; another 13 were marked with stones in the way that Afghans identify women’s graves.
If it takes this concerted of an international outcry to get the truth out of the U.S. government (and they're not admitting to anything on Nawabad yet), how many other instances of U.S. military action can even be believed? Is there anything this government even says or does that has credibility? I know that sounds severe, but that's the price power pays for mendacity and cover-up.

Hat-tip to Grand Moff Texan at Daily Kos for the TimesOnline article


Anonymous said...

Great Article. I have noticed EVERYWHERE on the web that alot of folks are misspelling Organization. And other words where people use an s where a z should be. It is really irritating.

John said...

It does not surprise me anymore, as the US Government has covert agencies, who distort the truth and use deception just to cover up the facts from the American public; who are entitled to know the truth.

John Medeiros

Anonymous said...

Why do they keep killing innocent children and women? It's almost like it's a blood sacrifice to some demon god on a mass scale. And that includes the massive deaths of young soldiers too. War is nothing but a huge blood sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

Why is Oliver North running around free? He should be IN JAIL FOR LIFE for what he's done. There are people who have been incarcerated for 30 years for having a little pot in their possession. Life is full of little ironies like that, isn't it.

Valtin said...

Great comments, all.

As for "organisation", I believe my use was in quotes, and it is the "British" preferred spelling.

One wonders what Oliver North's relationship is with any "covert agencies." I'm not saying he has one, but it is worth questioning, given his popping up like this in a major U.S. foreign controversy.

I believe the country now has two major parties: the war party and the peace party. The former has a good sense of itself and is very active. The latter is larger numerically, and has the moral high ground, but expresses itself timidly, and has poor leadership (thus far).

The coming days will make this clearer and clearer, and the leadership of the peace party will be forged in the battle against the adherents of war and empire.

Anonymous said...

The "organization" "organisation" issue may be due to differences between British (Canadian, etc.) and American English spellings.

It's generally considered bad etiquette on the Internet to correct people's spelling.

Normally, in an editor-controlled process like newspapers and books, incorrect spelling may make you look ignorant and cause some question the veracity and professionalism of one's writing. But considering that many on the Internet are not native-English speakers, and writing is not editor-monitored, that dynamic does not apply.

To the author: an outstanding article!

steve in wisconsin said...

A very good article! I just found your blog and subscribed to the RSS feed.

Valtin said...

Thanks, Steve in Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

Recently an insurance company nearly wind up....

A bank is nearly bankrupt......

How it affect you? Did you buy insurance? Did you buy mini note or bonds?

Who fault?

They only talk about how bad the crisis will be, but they did not give regulation measures…..

Now using tax payer money, $700B is used to save finance industry only, how about the industry that you are in.....retail industry, construction industry, manufacturing industry, R&D, electronics, electrical, mechanical, chemical, IT etc.... each industry will be able to enjoy at least $10B.......

The top management of the Public listed company ( belong to "public" ) salary should be tied a portion of it to the shares price ( IPO or ave 5 years ).... so when the shares price drop, it don't just penalise the investors, but those who don't take care of the company.....If this rule is pass on, without any need of further regulation, all industries ( as long as it is public listed ) will be self regulated......

Sign a petition to your favourite president candidate and ask for their views to comment on this......If you agree on my point, please let as many people know as possible....

Media and finance sector are the only two sectors ( hopefully Hacker can also ) which can overcome political incorrect power, so it is time to fine tune to the correct path, so hopefully media can united to report the truth......

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